No rigid rules apply. Mode of entry depends on the job type and on the aptitude and interest of the applicant. Besides acquired skills required handling the work, the abilities of logical reasoning and effective communication are the most important criteria.
KEY PUNCH/DATA ENTRY OPERATORS
Feed data into the computer system, through a keyboard. Accuracy and speed are vital for this task. No specialist qualifications are required, though typing skills are essential. Jobs are usually with user organizations where large volumes of data have to be entered into the computer.
Major function is operation of the main control keyboard or console. Console operators work with programs and data to execute computing jobs on behalf of users. Computing skills are necessary. Jobs are with user organizations, data centers, or time-sharing/consultancy firms
This sector offers better employment opportunities than any other in the industry. It is a very competitive field, but remuneration and prospects are excellent. Levels of functioning include:
Who are on the lowest rung of the ladder. They are responsible for writing and testing programs and assisting users during the implementation phase. Applications Programmers write user-friendly programs to comply with customer needs. These may be general-purpose programs for a large and growing number of users, or specific programs for individual use.
The job also involves testing programs, integrating them, evolving complex supporting documentation, and assisting users during the initial running of the program. Applications programmers are expected to be in a position to write programs in any of the computer languages, to meet the specifications laid down by the systems analyst.
Proficiency in mathematics is not necessary for this work, but logical, analytical reasoning is essential. Work is with software houses or consultancy firms. Entry can be direct, or through other functions.
Write and develop systems software. Of all computing jobs, this is the most theoretical/academic.
Work is mainly with computer manufacturers, software houses, and R&D institutes. With experience, a systems programmer can move up to the post of systems software designer.
Convert schemes visualized by the systems analyst into working programs.
Is an intermediate job title. It describes programmers with enough experience to handle small and
medium-sized computerization projects in their entirety. Analyst programmer's major responsibilities include analyzing user requirements, programming, testing, and installation of
software. Jobs are usually with small computer centers or if very experienced-in user organizations with large Computer networks.
Handle phases of analysis and design in software development. They are also responsible for final testing and advising clients on purchase and installation of appropriate computer systems.
Work involves researching organizational procedures and evolving a plan for their computerization. Analysts provide overall guidance on program development. They may work alone or in teams. The minimum requirement for entry at this level is a logical bent of mind and a willingness to learn continuously.
Analysts must also have well-developed communication and interviewing abilities, as well as management skills. They are required to be knowledgeable about and critical of available systems and prevailing trends in the industry.
Qualifications in the functional area of work are an asset. Those who show marked leadership qualities can rise quickly from Junior Systems Analyst to Senior Systems Analyst to a managerial post. Work is with software houses, consultancy firms or large computer users.
People with advanced skills can enter the foreign software market either by developing and exporting software from India or by joining an organization based overseas.
Take care of the design aspect of software development. This category entry exists as a separate function in large departments with a heavy workload, and is usually handled by the systems analyst.
Develop programs for Computers. Work covers the design, development and maintenance of
software. Software engineers also design software packages for client companies. This is a specialist area.
Software engineers must be technically sound. Whereas software professionals need t0 understand the working of organizations, write programs and deal effectively with computer and non-computer people, the software engineer takes a more scientific approach and remains within the confines of the laboratory.
Qualifications required are a degree in electronics engineering and computer science. Employment is with large computer manufacturers or R&D institutes.
This is a specialist, high-technology area, requiring advanced levels of training and qualification for entry.
Assist the engineer. Work as mostly in the field, servicing computers. Technical training is required for this job. Employment is usually with computer manufacturing companies or servicing and maintenance agencies.
Must thoroughly understand the complexities of hardware and software, to be able to diagnose and rectify trouble. Work is with end users at the site of installation. An engineering or computer science degree is necessary for this job. Employment is with computer vendors or companies with large information networks.
Are mainly engaged in the creation and improvement of products that can be manufactured and
maintained economically, perform satisfactorily, look good, and satisfy proven demand. The scope of this work also includes the designing of a new, or improvement of an established, engineering process.
The aim is to find efficient and economical solutions to a set of problems. Design engineers interact professionally with other engineers and scientists. A degree in electronics engineering is essential for this work. Jobs are usually with a computer manufacturing company or at an R&D institute.
COMPUTER SCIENTIST/TECHNOLOGIST/HARDWARE ENGINEER
Major responsibilities in manufacture cover production, assembly and maintenance. In R&D, it is the development of new designs and modification of existing systems, to suit the growing needs of the computer industry. Scope of work includes provision of after-sales service and quality control.
A degree in electronics engineering or computer science is essential for this work. Some hardware
engineers are employed with computer manufacturers. Others become vendors themselves, or set up their own maintenance units. A typical computer team comprises hardware engineers, systems analysts and R&D specialists, who work jointly to design operating systems, write out codes and develop programs.
This is the highest level of employment and requires technical qualifications, ability and experience. Managers ensure that all stages of development and production run smoothly. They are also responsible for meeting time and cost schedules.
Major tasks include resource allocation and planning, as well as assuring conformance of quality with laid down standards. Besides technical qualifications in their specific functional areas, managers need to be proficient at handling people and interacting with user groups.
In this specialized field, professional training-technical or academic-is essential for entry at almost any functional level. There is a range of courses available. Individual choice would depend on academic record, interest and aptitude. In general, it is best to enroll in a programme that sticks to the point and emphasizes hands-on practice and real-life applications.
At present, India has 182 engineering colleges and another 700 academies that specialize in the teaching of computer sciences. Due to the massive demand for seats, a large part of this computer training is supplied by the private sector. This includes professional organizations and private entrepreneurs.
Courses outside the formal educational infrastructure are not as yet standardized, and the quality might vary from excellent to inadequate. The government, with the cooperation of some reputed IT associations, is working on a set of norms that will bring conformity to computer education. Until this is done, it is best to follow a few guidelines that will ensure the right choice of institution. These are:
Besides larger machines, used specifically in education, a good institution possesses a standard minimum of an IBM PC/ XT/ AT compatible supporting MS-DOS, and a super micro computer supporting UNIX/XENIX, to train students for existing environments.
Should include audio-visual aids such as video and overhead projectors.
Must be of good quality, specially designed and issued to students free of cost.
Should comprise of a full-time staff of qualified lecturers as well as visiting experts who interact with students from time to time.
For effective skill and knowledge acquisition, should be a minimum of one teacher to fifteen students, and one to thirty at the very maximum.
For machine familiarization and concept and skill acquisition, allows at most, two students per computer, and for skill application, five per computer.
This varies with the course and level of study:
Undergraduate course: 10+2 in science, arts or commerce. `B' level or graduate level DOE scheme: `O' level certificate of diploma in computers.
Postgraduate course: graduation in computer science or any other degree related to science, mathematics, statistics or operational research.
At all good institutions this includes a comprehensive entrance test and personal interview to assess the candidate's aptitude. The duration of training varies from one to four years, depending on the level and type of course chosen.
A standard curriculum is structured to cover areas necessary to impart essential knowledge and skills towards career development in the current environment. A detailed schedule of classroom and computer sessions is
provided to students at the start of the course, defining precisely the areas to be covered it each session.
Good institutions have a well-designed feedback system to continuously monitor student's learning intake, as well as responses to faculty, courseware, curriculum and course design. Institutions
At all levels: flexibility, and willingness to adapt to new methodologies and to continue learning.
Operators: practicality, liking for routine work, organizing/ administrative ability (for those wanting to rise to other levels).